COVID-19 has shaken the world. The virus, which was not part of our vocabulary just a few months ago, is now at the forefront of our daily lives, leading to shelter in place ordinances and quarantines around the globe. If you're stuck at home and grappling with the economic impact like millions of others, here are some things you can do to cut down expenses.
This one seems obvious—cook your meals instead of ordering in. Before going to a grocery store or ordering supplies online, decide what you'll be making for the week. Having a plan will prevent you from making impulse buys in the candy and chips aisles.
If you're strapped for cash, brown rice, dried beans, oats, sweet potatoes, and onions are all cheap and healthy options. Availability depending, you can pick a protein to add to each depending on what you like to eat. If you can, get a few frozen meals, too, so on days when you don't feel like cooking, ordering a pricey delivery meal isn't your only option.
Cooking your meals has the added benefit of generally being healthier than ordering in. Plus, it'll give you something to do when you are bored. If you have kids, get them involved in planning meals and cooking with you. Now is an excellent time to teach them the basics of meal planning and cooking.
Now is also a great time to do some maintenance around the home. Keeping your home up to date will save you money in the long run. Plus, if something does break down now it might be a while before you are able to get someone out to make repairs.
Depending on regulations in your area, you may want to head outdoors for a bit. Clean out the gutters of all winter debris and check the roof for any damage. Now is also a good time to wash the inside and outside of all windows in your home.
Indoors, clean or replace your HVAC system's air filter. To clean the filter, remove it, vacuum it, and secure it back in place. You can also use this time to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Switch out the devices' batteries and use the test button to make sure they are working properly.
3. Grow Herbs
Growing your own herbs indoors is an excellent way to save money. Find a spot for them with room for them to grow that receives a lot of light—ideally at least four hours of light per day. Make sure to use containers with good drainage. Herbs like rosemary, parsley, and basil are easy to grow inside and make a great addition to countless recipes.
4. Free Games
Plenty of popular board games have free online versions and apps that are cheaper than buying the physical board game. This allows you to stay connected to family and friends even when you can't see each other in person. Dominion and Cards Against Humanity are two of the most popular options.
With everything going on, cleaning is incredibly important. It can make your home safer and save you money in the long run. Like maintenance, doing a small amount of cleaning on a daily basis will help keep your belongings in tip-top shape and save them from needing deeper cleans or even from being replaced later on. Cleaning and sealing your granite countertop, for instance, can extend its life.
6. Cable Bill
Now is a time when you and your family may be watching more TV than usual. But that doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune. Try calling your cable company and see if they are offering any new deals.
You can also try cutting the cord and switching to streaming services. Many of them offer month-long trials or other deals. Verizon unlimited customers, for example, can get a year of Disney Plus for free. And the monthly fees for many streaming services is less than an average cable bill.